Dauphin, Canada
Manitoba's Aboriginal Affairs Minister says the recent wave of suicides plaguing a northern Manitoba First Nation is horrifying.
The Cross Lake First Nation, north of Lake Winnipeg, declared a state of emergency on Wednesday after recording six suicides in the last two months and 140 suicide attempts in just the last two weeks.
Eric Robinson has talked to the local band council and his federal counterpart, and says they are all working together to get the town more mental health supports, which he says had been cut by the previous federal government.
"People will have accessibility to crisis workers and have these councilors ready. Also, they'll have a person to listen to how people get through these difficult periods."
While residential schools no longer exist in Canada, Robinson says the trauma that so many indigenous people faced is still affecting families across the country.
"The residual effects of the residential school colonization abuses of all sorts have occurred to many people. As a result, many of our young people find themselves in despair and they have no outlets to deal with these issues. Sometimes, they think the only answer is taking their own lives."
The province has sent an emergency crisis team to the First Nation to help their health workers, which the band council says are overworked and exhausted.
A member of the Cross Lake band council says they also need more recreation facilities and workers because the youth just do not have anything to do.